Continuous learning & micro learning – a more effective alternative to training courses
Guest article | Andrew Ferdinando
Andrew Ferdinando is co-founder of Insightful, a continuous learning service designed to keep social media managers at brands and agencies on top of their game.
Continuous learning is the process of learning new skills and knowledge on an on-going basis.
When put into a business context it is the ability to keep up to date on current trends, research and technology within one's category, identifying and pursuing areas for development which will enhance job performance.
It’s a form of education which is best consumed in bite size chunks over a long period of time, and it’s designed to keep professionals on top of their game.
Some professions formalise continuous learning; lawyers, accountants and physiotherapists for example will be very familiar with CPD (Continuous Professional Development).
CPD is a required discipline within these industries whilst conversely for most of us there is no formal requirement to evolve our knowledge. This is left to the motivation and desire of the individual to work on their self-development.
So how do we support and encourage our team members to stay on top of their game and to never stop learning?
Historically the answer to this question has been to send them on a training course of some kind. Speak to anyone who works within a corporate organisation, and they will have a training budget to use at their discretion. This budget is typically spent sending employees on a hand full of 1-day courses over the year.
It is a good way to tick a box.
However, the limitation of a course is that it has a start and an end. An employee will attend a couple of workshops, learn about a particular topic and then that is it for their self-development until next year.
The concept of continuous learning would suggest a better way could be to drip feed the learning at a higher cadence (weekly or fortnightly) but to do so in bite size chunks, meaning 30-to-45-minute sessions.
This is known as micro learning. The delivery of short, narrow focussed and digestible content which works beautifully in tandem with continuous learning.
As someone who has delivered several hundred physical workshops in the last few years, I believe continuous learning is a more effective way to increase the individual capabilities within your team.
Attention spans. Most people are busy, and they struggle to pay attention during a full day course. In the workshops I have run I think I start to lose people after a couple of hours max.
Efficiency. Most categories evolve at a real speed so short, easy-to-consume content is an effective way to stay on the front of the wave.
Cost effective. There are heaps of continuous learning businesses out there who deliver their service via webinar at an affordable cost.
In summary, leaderships teams and their employees need to be able to challenge themselves in order to obtain new knowledge, ideas, and skills.
Learning needs to be on a flexible, on-demand and continual basis in order to contribute this kind of cutting-edge performance.
Crucially - the learning never ends. Unlike the learning we do at school or through professional course, the learning is never “finished”.
Andrew Ferdinando is co-founder of Insightful, a continuous learning service designed to keep social media managers at brands and agencies on top of their game. Alongside Dom Hay, Insightful is one of our favourite continuous learning sources. To find out more about Insightful check them out online.